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Has the Greens’ plan to phase out gas gone unnoticed?

Southerly_views 28 September 2016 23

gas-istock

The Clean Energy Future announcement by the Greens in mid-September stated that if elected they intend to phase out natural gas usage across the territory in stages by 2020 through to 2030. This new policy appears to have gone largely unnoticed by local residents. One dot point even states that they intend to change the national Building Code of Australia to prevent gas hot water installations in new houses.

The Greens policy states that:

“Gas is expensive, dirty, and unnecessary, and the ACT Greens will stop the rollout of expensive new gas infrastructure in new suburbs. It is irresponsible to connect new homes to the gas network when householders can access cleaner and cheaper energy by using just electricity”.

The ACT Greens will invest $15 million over 4 years to:

  • Stop the rollout of expensive new gas infrastructure in all new suburbs.
  • Remove all ACT Government incentives that encourage householders to install gas appliances (for example, through the EEIS and wood heater replacement program).
  • Set a minimum gas standard of 5 stars for all new gas appliance installations.
  • Mandate that replacement hot water systems must not be gas.
  • Change the Building Code of Australia requirements to prohibit gas hot water services in new houses.

The ACT Greens will also encourage households to transition away from gas by:

  • Providing a 20% rebate on up to $10,000 spent upgrading gas appliances to energy-efficient electric appliances such as split system heating systems and efficient hot water systems (solar or heatpump) for households earning less than $100,000 per annum. 
  • Replacing gas heating appliances with energy efficient electric heating for those in low-income households.

Read the Green’s No-Gas policy in full.

The policy document makes for some enthralling reading with words like dirty, unnecessary and irresponsible used to describe the natural gas network. And yes, gas is constantly going up in price but we should continue to have the right to choose how we heat our water or cook our meals. Many restaurants and businesses across Canberra use gas for all different reasons.

We live in a Canberra house with gas heating and a gas stove as do thousands of other residents. Last year our gas stove in the kitchen finally died after 20 years and we looked at both gas and electric induction as a replacement. The layout of our house meant the additional cost and effort of running high amperage wiring between the meter box and the kitchen to power the induction stove was so high it was simply  beyond consideration. The old cooker was replaced with another gas stove. Even higher wiring costs would be involved for installing a replacement electric hot water system located on the opposite side of the house to the meter. I am reasonably sure not even a Green’s supported rebate would finance the significant changeover costs in our house.

If this No-Gas policy is implemented it will be a massive change to Canberra’s underground infrastructure. Residents and businesses in some suburbs will have a gas connection and newer suburbs will be left without. Going back in future years to provide gas infrastructure to the suburbs built without gas pipelines would also be prohibitively expensive.

What are your thoughts about the Green’s election proposal for substantial alterations to the city’s future energy infrastructure?


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23 Responses to
Has the Greens’ plan to phase out gas gone unnoticed?
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dungfungus 6:43 pm 05 Oct 16

Grail said :

Southerly_views said :

wildturkeycanoe
“I bet those in S.A. right now who have gas cooktops and hot water systems are grinning, being able to cook and shower whilst everyone else has cold spaghetti and sponge baths.”

It is called community resilience.

A choice of gas and electricity helps the population to self-support when incidents or natural events overwhelm the local region. The short memory of many Canberran’s allows them to forget the impact of the 2003 bushfire emergency when electricity supplies to some suburbs were cut for several days.

These days you would address that issue with household batteries. When the grid is workinas expected you trade electricity on the national wholesale market. When the grid isn’t working you have a supply of electricity independent of the grid.

…. as long as the sun is shining every day.

Grail 4:16 pm 05 Oct 16

Southerly_views said :

wildturkeycanoe
“I bet those in S.A. right now who have gas cooktops and hot water systems are grinning, being able to cook and shower whilst everyone else has cold spaghetti and sponge baths.”

It is called community resilience.

A choice of gas and electricity helps the population to self-support when incidents or natural events overwhelm the local region. The short memory of many Canberran’s allows them to forget the impact of the 2003 bushfire emergency when electricity supplies to some suburbs were cut for several days.

These days you would address that issue with household batteries. When the grid is workinas expected you trade electricity on the national wholesale market. When the grid isn’t working you have a supply of electricity independent of the grid.

Grail 4:11 pm 05 Oct 16

We should have the right to choose?

So you would be comfortable with a return to lead based paint, leaded petrol, asbestos insulation, and smoky wood fired heating?

Or are you simply operating on the assumption that the evil Greens are going to force you to rip out your functional appliances and replace them with super expensive electrical versions?

There will be funding to help people on low incomes. The cost of changing over is something to be addressed in ten-year household budgets. So if it was going to cost $3000 to get the new wiring for water and kitchen put in place, that’s close to $300 a year for ten years (I would save more, to allow for emergency replacement).

For people who do not have that kind of money, there is also the option of lobbying for extra assistance.

There will be no future expansion of the gas network. Our domestic production is far more valuable to its owners as exports into the international market.

I am all for shutting down the fossil fuel industry. I would prefer my country remain solvent rather than go into recession due to spending on rehabilitstion of abandoned mines and bores. I would prefer farmlands over industrial wastelands.

Southerly_views 6:07 am 01 Oct 16

wildturkeycanoe
“I bet those in S.A. right now who have gas cooktops and hot water systems are grinning, being able to cook and shower whilst everyone else has cold spaghetti and sponge baths.”

It is called community resilience.

A choice of gas and electricity helps the population to self-support when incidents or natural events overwhelm the local region. The short memory of many Canberran’s allows them to forget the impact of the 2003 bushfire emergency when electricity supplies to some suburbs were cut for several days. We had a gas stove and hot water service so our neighbours with an electric HWS and stove came over to shower and cook at our place.

The availability of gas and electricity allows homes to have a fall back position in an emergency. If gas supplies fail ( a very rare occurrence) small electric heaters can be used to heat a room in winter and a small hotplate can cook meals and heat water. If electricity fails, gas cooktops and the HWS still work while torches light the house.

It is simple common sense really and something the current government seems to lack.

dungfungus 3:26 pm 30 Sep 16

creative_canberran said :

dungfungus said :

Where to begin?

Firstly, read what I said and I didn’t mention anything about wind farms in the Territory.

You did. Your exact quote: “I wonder what the risk management plan it for the ACT when a one in fifty year wind & hail-storm destroys the Territory’s solar farms.”

dungfungus said :

I know that but no one lives at the land fill so the leeching methane isn’t going to harm anyone.

However, the toxic emissions from burning the stuff are carried by wind currents to several residential suburbs.

That makes no sense for a number of reasons. You say the methane isn’t a worry because no one lives at the tip, but the “toxic” burning emissions are because they’re carried by wind. Well the methane is carried by wind too. And the raw methane is a problem for everyone because it is a heavy greenhouse gas caught by the atmosphere.

Burning methane produces carbon-dioxide. A much lighter greenhouse gas that we all exhale. That’s why burning it is much better than letting the raw methane be released.

The toxic emissions from the burning methane are carried to residential suburbs more by air currents in calm conditions.

And for you to suggest that carbon dioxide is the only gas that is produced by burning methane is totally false.

wildturkeycanoe 1:21 pm 30 Sep 16

I bet those in S.A. right now who have gas cooktops and hot water systems are grinning, being able to cook and shower whilst everyone else has cold spaghetti and sponge baths.
I can not believe the Greens want to ban everything else and rely purely on electricity, which is mainly produced by coal fired power plants, the worst producer of greenhouse gases.
We can not have a reliance on wind and solar until peak loads and unexpected demands are met by a standby source capable of meeting those demands. At the moment coal does this, but there are no other sources able to ramp up production or wind it down as readily. It is either sunny or windy, but if it is dark and still, what do they expect we use instead if gas is also no good?

creative_canberran 6:24 pm 29 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

Where to begin?

Firstly, read what I said and I didn’t mention anything about wind farms in the Territory.

You did. Your exact quote: “I wonder what the risk management plan it for the ACT when a one in fifty year wind & hail-storm destroys the Territory’s solar farms.”

dungfungus said :

I know that but no one lives at the land fill so the leeching methane isn’t going to harm anyone.

However, the toxic emissions from burning the stuff are carried by wind currents to several residential suburbs.

That makes no sense for a number of reasons. You say the methane isn’t a worry because no one lives at the tip, but the “toxic” burning emissions are because they’re carried by wind. Well the methane is carried by wind too. And the raw methane is a problem for everyone because it is a heavy greenhouse gas caught by the atmosphere.

Burning methane produces carbon-dioxide. A much lighter greenhouse gas that we all exhale. That’s why burning it is much better than letting the raw methane be released.

dungfungus 6:38 am 29 Sep 16

creative_canberran said :

dungfungus said :

But the methane powered electricity generators at the Mugga Lane Land Fill will still belch out their polluting emissions?

Yeah, that sounds totally reasonable.

The methane is released from decomposing garbage, biomass, and it’s a greenhouse gas emitted from all landfills for decades after the rubbish is buried. By burning it instead and using it for energy, you put those emissions to use, and release exhaust that is over 20x less harmful than the pure methane that would otherwise escape.

I know that but no one lives at the land fill so the leeching methane isn’t going to harm anyone.

However, the toxic emissions from burning the stuff are carried by wind currents to several residential suburbs.

dungfungus 6:35 am 29 Sep 16

creative_canberran said :

dungfungus said :

Following the total shutdown of South Australia’s electricity network tonight I think that state will speed up planning for some stand-by gas-peakers.

The Achilles heal of the clean, green wind turbine has been exposed for ever, namely they can’t operate in high winds and when 40% of the state’s electricity is generated by wind turbines there is a huge problem (including the Adelaide trams stopping dead in their tracks).

The SA government will have litigants lining up at Parliament House tomorrow. Lucky there are no aluminium smelters in that state.

I wonder what the risk management plan it for the ACT when a one in fifty year wind & hail-storm destroys the Territory’s solar farms.

Oh where to begin.

Firstly, the territory itself has no windfarms. There are three windfarms in the Canberra region, but we generally buy the energy from further away. As the ACT has interconnects to NSW, we might have blackouts in severe storms but that’s to do with transmission, not generation.

Secondly we don’t know what has really happened yet in SA. Yes, they have 40% of their own capacity from wind. But they have an interconnect with Victoria, and their own gas stations (which are powering up right now) to fill in the gap when the wind isn’t producing. The reports at the moment point to a fault with the transmission network instead.

Where to begin?

Firstly, read what I said and I didn’t mention anything about wind farms in the Territory.

wildturkeycanoe 10:32 pm 28 Sep 16

So who is going to pay firstly for the upgrades to people’s heating and cooking appliances to convert them to electricity? The householders. Who is going to pay for the upgrades to their electricity distribution board which will require larger fuses and additional circuit breakers, not to mention larger cables to supply these new electric appliances? The householder. Who is going to pay for upgrades to the power grid, larger transformers and upgraded conductors to carry all the extra power that will be sucked from the power generators? You guessed it, the ratepayers and electricity customers.
Do the greens realise that houses with gas appliances do not have the capacity to add electric cooking [20amps], heating[possibly up to 40 amps] and hot water[another 20-32 amps]. Their switchboards have been designed for a much lower maximum demand, meaning the installation may not be sufficient to go all electric.
But greens have their heads buried so far up Labor’s proverbial, they can’t see anything but green fields and sunshine.

dungfungus 10:32 pm 28 Sep 16

Masquara said :

Are the Greens going to close down the GlassWorks? That’s a very, very polluting little outfit, even though it produces pretty things.

They will throw out the gas-fired kilns (which cost how much?) and replace them with more electric ones which will be powered by that green stuff.

I would love to see how much ratepayers money goes into this place. Anyone know how I can find out?

creative_canberran 10:27 pm 28 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

Following the total shutdown of South Australia’s electricity network tonight I think that state will speed up planning for some stand-by gas-peakers.

The Achilles heal of the clean, green wind turbine has been exposed for ever, namely they can’t operate in high winds and when 40% of the state’s electricity is generated by wind turbines there is a huge problem (including the Adelaide trams stopping dead in their tracks).

The SA government will have litigants lining up at Parliament House tomorrow. Lucky there are no aluminium smelters in that state.

I wonder what the risk management plan it for the ACT when a one in fifty year wind & hail-storm destroys the Territory’s solar farms.

Oh where to begin.

Firstly, the territory itself has no windfarms. There are three windfarms in the Canberra region, but we generally buy the energy from further away. As the ACT has interconnects to NSW, we might have blackouts in severe storms but that’s to do with transmission, not generation.

Secondly we don’t know what has really happened yet in SA. Yes, they have 40% of their own capacity from wind. But they have an interconnect with Victoria, and their own gas stations (which are powering up right now) to fill in the gap when the wind isn’t producing. The reports at the moment point to a fault with the transmission network instead.

creative_canberran 10:23 pm 28 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

But the methane powered electricity generators at the Mugga Lane Land Fill will still belch out their polluting emissions?

Yeah, that sounds totally reasonable.

The methane is released from decomposing garbage, biomass, and it’s a greenhouse gas emitted from all landfills for decades after the rubbish is buried. By burning it instead and using it for energy, you put those emissions to use, and release exhaust that is over 20x less harmful than the pure methane that would otherwise escape.

Masquara 9:53 pm 28 Sep 16

Are the Greens going to close down the GlassWorks? That’s a very, very polluting little outfit, even though it produces pretty things.

dungfungus 8:51 pm 28 Sep 16

Following the total shutdown of South Australia’s electricity network tonight I think that state will speed up planning for some stand-by gas-peakers.

The Achilles heal of the clean, green wind turbine has been exposed for ever, namely they can’t operate in high winds and when 40% of the state’s electricity is generated by wind turbines there is a huge problem (including the Adelaide trams stopping dead in their tracks).

The SA government will have litigants lining up at Parliament House tomorrow. Lucky there are no aluminium smelters in that state.

I wonder what the risk management plan it for the ACT when a one in fifty year wind & hail-storm destroys the Territory’s solar farms.

rommeldog56 6:17 pm 28 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

You are rarely mistaken JC and you are right about it leeching out which is less of a problem than burning it as the latter way can emit harmful chemicals into the air, such as vinyl chloride, benzene, dichlorethene, methylene chloride, tetracloroethene, trichloroethene, mercury and dioxin, which is highly carcinogenic.

These emissions are carried by air currents to residential suburbs adjacent to the land fill.

Most of these chemicals cause liver damage, lung damage and cancer, and are harmful to the nervous system and reproductive systems of human beings and animals.

Add those to what ever will be belching into the air from the proposed factory in Hume that will “convert” plastics into fuel, also destined to drift over Tuggers and/or Tralee/Jerra.

HiddenDragon 5:32 pm 28 Sep 16

It is not so long ago that gas was, apparently, a perfectly acceptable alternative to electricity for hot water heating when an off-peak heater came to the end of its life. I recall, at the time, wondering how long it would be before the never-wrong crusaders worked out that the off-peak approach might work quite nicely with an electricity grid which had significant input from solar farms (not just from rooftop solar) – we might get there, eventually, after a few more absolutist frolics and brainwaves along the way.

dungfungus 4:22 pm 28 Sep 16

JC said :

Don’t agree with a total removal (think pricing will eventually do that anyway). But the greens do raise some valid points about natural gas, it is not a clean as some may have us believe. And when it comes to heating in particular modern reverse cycle is far more efficient than gas, though of course marginal in Canberra.

And Dungers re the methane, unless I am mistaken if they don’t burn it, the methane will leech out of the tip anyway. So burning it and turning it into energy is without a doubt the best thing to do with that methane. It is not like coal where it can be left in the ground and stay mostly benign.

You are rarely mistaken JC and you are right about it leeching out which is less of a problem than burning it as the latter way can emit harmful chemicals into the air, such as vinyl chloride, benzene, dichlorethene, methylene chloride, tetracloroethene, trichloroethene, mercury and dioxin, which is highly carcinogenic.

These emissions are carried by air currents to residential suburbs adjacent to the land fill.

Most of these chemicals cause liver damage, lung damage and cancer, and are harmful to the nervous system and reproductive systems of human beings and animals.

madelini 3:56 pm 28 Sep 16

Well, gas isn’t a renewable energy source. Similar to wood fires (as nice and cosy as they are), the Greens are committed to cutting emissions and waste, so this is just another aspect of that. Gas cooking is great; it’s efficient and heats properly, but it does have its downsides.

I’m not bothered by it either way. It’s the same as the transition to the energy-saving lights, and now the push for LED installation. Finding better ways to look after our environment is always going to require some adjustment from the population, but it’s not disastrous. If you don’t like it, you are free to not vote Green.

JC 12:35 pm 28 Sep 16

Don’t agree with a total removal (think pricing will eventually do that anyway). But the greens do raise some valid points about natural gas, it is not a clean as some may have us believe. And when it comes to heating in particular modern reverse cycle is far more efficient than gas, though of course marginal in Canberra.

And Dungers re the methane, unless I am mistaken if they don’t burn it, the methane will leech out of the tip anyway. So burning it and turning it into energy is without a doubt the best thing to do with that methane. It is not like coal where it can be left in the ground and stay mostly benign.

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